Targeted Audiences Like Being Sold To

An article on Business Week highlights research carried out by Tivo to determine which adverts people watch and which adverts they skip.

IF THERE’S ONE LESSON from TiVo Stop||Watch, it’s that relevancy outweighs creativity in TV commercials–by a lot. The ads on the “least-fast-forwarded” list aren’t funny, they aren’t touching, and they aren’t clever. And they don’t have big budgets. The top three overall in June (the latest month for which data are available) were CORT Furniture, Dominican Republic Tourism, and Hooters Restaurant. Several throw 800-numbers at you at the end.

But all of these ads are well-tailored to their audiences. For example, during prime-time broadcast TV in June, the No.1 least-fast-forwarded campaign was for home-gym brand Bowflex. Bowflex placed prime-time ads exclusively on professional wrestling on the CW Television Network–just the kind of show that might lead a viewer to reevaluate his or her own musculature and check out a home gym. Leaders on the overall least-fast-forwarded list, which included all advertisers that ran at least 20 spots during any time on any channel, were often those that advertised during daytime on cable, where shows have smaller, niche audiences, and it’s easier to deduce viewer interests, according to TiVo.

Of course this is taken almost as natural phenomenon in online advertising these days, because we have all grown accustomed to targeted advertising generating better response.

However online there seems to be a strange turn-around that advertisers are trying to hide the fact that viewers are being sold to, or that somehow there is money involved with a promotion.

Your Local Hardware Store vs Walmart

If you go to your local hardware store to speak to the resident expert for some professional “handy man” advise, you know full well that whatever he recommends (that he sells in his shop) he is making money on. In fact he might well be making as much or more than Walmart per sale, though Walmart probably have cheaper buying prices driving such professional stores out of business.

Small hardware stores haven’t been driven out of business because customers thought they gave poor advice or poor service, they just have a hard time competing on price, and they might not carry as wide a range of stock items in a sense of “one-stop shop for everything”.

Which Toothpaste or Brush?

Dentists / Dental Surgeons are provided with free samples all the time, hell I used to be given them as presents when I was a kid each time I visited a dentist. I think most parents trust the opinion of their kid’s dentist – and continue using the same brands they are given.

Disclosure Online

When you walk into a shop you expect to be sold to, but you don’t know which product the shopkeeper makes the most money on, which brand he has a special deal with, and the same is true in shops big and small.

Displaying some form of disclosure policy is like having a shop sign – once you have some clear disclosure, there is nothing wrong with suggesting products your visitors might benefit from and making something from doing so.

Don’t Be Scared Of Making Money Blogging

  • Be genuine with your audience. A sponsored review or paid post isn’t going to break the social trust with your audience.
  • Stick within your niche – whilst you can experiment with widening your niche, pay attention to page views both on your blog and in feed readers to give you an indication of interest level in your content.
  • The best way to build trust with your audience is to give genuine opinion… to actually have an opinion. Even if some of your audience don’t agree with you, they will respect you for it.

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  1. says

    This is not at all surprising. No one ever complains about my adsense and auction ads for knitting things on my blog. I put them where they are “easy” to find, but I get decent clicks.

    People like some advertising. I know I don’t mind it when it’s a) relevant, b) easy to turn down without feeling you ‘ve offended or disappointed someone and c) doesn’t really get in the way of what I want. (Pop-ups, flashing etc. get in the way. )

  2. says

    Totally agree. As a fairly ad-phobic consumer I really don’t appreciate suggestions to buy stuff I have absolutely zero interest in. The advertiser of old thought, “Well, the consumer doesn’t know they don’t want the product yet” – that’s wrong. But if I’m actively looking for a product and comparison shopping and researching information, any additional info is totally appreciated.

  3. says

    The Bowflex placed prime-time ads exclusively on professional wrestling on the CW Television Network proves that targeted advertising on targeted content is the best method.

    I read the article a few days ago and was amazed that so many people are just now getting the idea of contextual advertising. Google has been doing this with AdSense and making a killing for a few years!